Speech Restriction

Updated: MAY 1, 2018

Speech restriction is a common practice during power exchange situations within the BDSM community. During speech restriction, a submissive person has their speech controlled by a dominant partner.

The parameters of speech restriction may vary from couple to couple. Some dominants insist their submissives address them by honorifics or only speak a limited number of words. Others demand their partners are silent or non-verbal. While these restrictions are quite varied, they all fall under the wider umbrella of speech restriction.

More About Speech Restriction

Some dominants insist their partners are totally silent, while others permit forming sounds but not words. Some dominants restrict the speech patterns of their submissives, asking them to use only a limited vocabulary, for example. Speech restriction may be a part of play during a scene or outside it. For example, submissives may never be able to speak at parties or they may need to ask permission before speaking at social gatherings. A dominant may restrict a submissive partner’s speech now and again or whenever certain circumstances arise.

As speech is such a significant part of what makes us human and separates us from animals, having this function restricted or removed can be frustrating and dehumanizing. For this reason, speech restriction may be used to punish, humiliate, or reinforce power roles within a BDSM relationship.

Submissives with speech restricted may feel helpless, vulnerable, and “more submissive.” This may help them reach subspace, or enter this phase faster or more deeply than other submissives. Some submissives may enjoy the feelings that come with speech restriction, while for others the experience may be unpleasantly overwhelming. Reactions to speech restriction are likely to be linked to the degree of restriction placed on submissives.


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